Thoughts on the mHealth Summit

mHealth-summit-review

The mHealthSummit gets bigger by the year (5,000 attendees from 60 countries this time around), and here are three takeaways from the event just ended, at the National Harbor in Washington, D.C. from December 9-11, 2013:

  1. ENORMOUS:  Increasingly the vendors are BIG.  In mHealthSummits past, the exhibitors typically had highly innovative products, but were not firms you’d recognize.  Now, the names are like this:  Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, Qualcomm, Intel.  Of course, many small companies also participated, and many of these are very well funded given the tsunami of venture capital funds that have hit the beach.
  2. EVIDENCE:  In the old days (you know, 18 months ago), your emblematic mHealth vendor would say “we think our ___ works.”  Now, vendors tend to have real, emphatic results.  They can tell you just how their ___ improves outcomes, reduces costs or enhances revenue.  Better, you can reference check them– they have honest-to-goodness PAYING customers.
  3. EMR:  You know mHealth players are starting to cross the rubicon when they can integrate to the popular EMRs– Epic, Cerner et al.  And their integrations might even be … bi-directional.  In healthcare we’re loathe to erect yet more dashboards for our harried clinicians to gaze upon.  mHealth vendors that can meet us in our EMR(s)?  They’re the best.

These are times of unprecedented innovation in healthcare, and much of the innovation is in and around mobile, either apps on smartphones and tablets, or devices that move data via wireless network carriers.  All the smart inventors, it seems, are racing to the mHealth spot, where increasingly there are willing Provider-Customers, Venture Capitalists and (let us not forget) a plethora of attorneys ready to file provisional patent applications as relevant.

It’s a gold rush, and your savvy healthcare systems are prowling the halls of places such as the mHealthSummit, seeking competitive advantage for today and tomorrow.

PS:  If I had to pick one vendor that stood out, it would be Bethesda, Maryland-based M3 (www.whatsmym3.com).   They help Providers screen for depression, anxiety, PTSD and bipolar on the web and mobile.  They presented at the Summit’s Venture+ Forum, and were anointed the winner.

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